July 23rd

1900 hours

Operation: Kraken

Southern approach to the Bridge

Moving slowly through the ever-darkening streets long abandoned, Wallace and his Marines moved through the wreckage carefully on one side of the street. On the other side, their allies the Amazons moved at their own pace, which usually meant being quicker than the humans they were supposed to work.

Only the commanders of the troops spoke to each other while the other soldiers kept their eyes forward and exchanged little chit-chat. The element of surprise had been lost and so being quiet wasn't a concern. What did was not given the enemy a change to kill them in a cluster. In the background of what remained of the Brooklyn Bridge the Kaiju flailed its bio-organic tentacles that were the width of buildings around. Water columns shot into the air and the structure arch that once held the bridge together was damaged in its thrashing.

Taking cover behind a destroyed tank, Wallace had spent little time in getting refitted back at base. He had grabbed all the ammunition he could carry as well as a newly issued AR-15 and he was back in the fight. With him were six men, most of them redeployed to assist the squad. Coon, Lizard, Reptar, Hippy, Jensen, and Knave. The men that helped secure the Bridge entrance were moving as well as they could through what remained of the Big Apple.

From behind his left shoulder approached Commander Yelila of the Boudicca Regiment, but she was now in charge of a group of six female soldiers wearing similar armor to hers. Pink, form fitting, and sleek but no doubt tough as tank armor and armed with their alien rifles that were ready to fire on a moment's notice. The Marines were stone faced and raring to go, but it was hard to see what the Amazons were potentially thinking thanks to their faces being hidden behind those sky-blue visors on their helmets.

"You find anything worth talking about, Commander?"

The female alien shook her head. She was the only one of her kind that wasn't wearing a visor over her face. She consciously did this to maintain comradery with the human officer. "No sign of enemy movement nor evidence of occupation. They Plague don't normally abandon ground for any reason."

That realization left her worried.

Not just her though, but Wallace as well. "We better find out if they're gone or not." He reached for his radio and called to the one Marine who had the eyes to find out. "Knave, you got anything for me. We're walking in close to where our line had been yesterday but no sign of the enemy."

From a rooftop a block ahead was the sniper Private Richard 'Knave' Campell, a guy who could shoot an ant on a sidewalk from a mile away. Young but very good at his job. He was looking through binoculars into the area the other Marines were going. The smoke from yesterday was long gone and was crystal clear for miles even in the encroaching darkness.

"Got nothing up here for blocks sir. Just that giant squid looking asshole in the river."

Wallace shook his head at Yelila, and she got the message. But she had also thought of a solution that might help. She spoke into the wrist computer on her left arm. Wallace took note that she spoke in a language he had never heard before, but she was very fluent in it. A second voice spoke from the wrist-comm the second after the commander had finished speaking. The tone in the voice was as cold as ice. The commander made an order that was rather assuring but understanding at the same time.

"What was that?"

Yelila pressed a few buttons on the touch screen wrist-comm. "One of my Roses ahead of us. She uses small SQRL units to scout in hard to observe places."

"SQRL?" To the human it sounded like she had said squirrel but doubted she meant the small cute furry mammals that lived in the trees in his front yard.

"Scout-Quietly-Recon-Links. Small robots that..." she thought for a moment, deciding on what would best be used to describe and he would understand. "They go where we suspect ambushes. Safer than sending in a unit of soldiers." With their small numbers they couldn't afford to make any costly mistakes.

"Recon drones, huh," the Marine said, understanding that they had minor similarities between their armed forces. It made cooperation a bit easier between them. "And?"

"She said she had a dozen units crawling through the wreckage of the bridge and so far nothing has been found. I do not understand this at all..."

Where was the enemy? Where was the Plague?

That question would no doubt be answered soon.

"Regardless, we need to make our way to the Kaiju. The quicker the better." He spoke into his radio to all the Marines under his command. "Doubt time Marines, no sign of the enemy." He then spoke to the Commander and tapped her on the shoulder, "Let's move." Wallace kept his head down low and moved forward. Yelila followed closely behind.

The sun was almost down when the combined forces made it to the entrance of the bridge, exactly where they were before the Kaiju had appeared.

Coon, Reptar, and Jensen were the point men and were the farthest ahead of the other Marines.

"Reptar on my right, Jensen take left. Watch my back."

"Sure, thing Goliath."

Jensen's 90s reference didn't go unnoticed. "You watch old school animation again, Jensen?"

"What can I say, I'm a man of class," said Jensen who was the oldest of the three. Reptar couldn't really blame him, as his callsign was named after a character of an old cartoon.

"More like too much time on your hands," replied Reptar.

The two chuckled.

"Eyes forward boys, the front door might be knocked any minute."

Coon was a big man with a loud voice but could strike fear into anyone. Well, anyone that was human, that is. The soldiers of the Plague were a foot or two taller than he was and were built like tanks. Still, he showed no fear of them whenever in combat. Reptar was recently married and a veteran of tank warfare. However, he had no tank to use and had since gone boots on the ground since New York had become a battlefield. Jensen was a bit of a strange dude who tended to talk too much, but when he was fully focused he was laser deadly.

A trio the Three Musketeers would be envious of, to be sure.

The three spread out but kept their weapons high.

The moment they stopped was the moment when all hell broke out.

Jensen paid for being out in the open. As he tried to take cover behind a broken taxi he was shot twice. Once int he thigh and in the left hand. He screamed and dropped his weapon.

"Reptar!" He called out to his friend and rolled to sit up against the taxi. Fire ensued from the ramp on the bridge behind a desperately made wall with multiple firing holes. Coon and Reptar were a dozen meters away and unable to reach Jensen.

Through his radio Coon called back to Wallace. "Contact!"

The other Marines fanned out and Wallace was quick to make a line and held it. "Take cover and find weak spots! I want to know how to get over that wall ASAP!"

Yelila didn't want to wait for an order. A fixed defensive position like that was bound to be tough from the front. She spoke into her wrist-comm and ordered her squad to fan out as well, but only four of them did so. The other two went to her and accompanied her around the street. They were noticed and fired upon but managed to avoid getting shot. Wallace had seen them but lost them due to the constant firing from the bridge.

"Hippy! Fire the RPG! Center of the wall!"

The youngest but most outlandish acting of the Marines was also a bit giddy about explosions. He cheered loudly as he fired the missile right into the center of the wall. Shrapnel went flying and a half dozen Plague soldiers flooded out of the blazing hole. They were annihilated within seconds, mostly by the Amazons who had snuck around them. Turns out there was a small side entrance for pedestrian traffic on the bridge.

Their attention soon turned to their six as shots were fired from their rear. One of the Amazons was hit multiple times and fell dead. The other two took cover on either side of the entrance. Yelila had been lucky to avoid death again and motioned for her squad as well as the Marines to move forward.

Wallace called to Knave to provide long range cover fire and moved forward. Coon and Reptar went to check on Jensen and had Lizard tend to him.

Wallace stopped to check on his ally. "How is he, Corpsman?"

"Not good, Lt. I need to get him to a field hospital and quick."

The Lt. couldn't disagree, as much as he wanted to avoid that. Jensen's knee was hanging on by a ligament and his left hand was just a stub on his arm. He might live but Lizard was damn sure to give it his all in trying.

"Knave will provide cover, get him out of here. Coon, Hippy will take Jensen's place, let's assist the Amazons and take that damn bridge!" he ordered his men. Knave confirmed his next course of action while Lizard made a call to the rear echelon to retrieve Jensen.

The three Amazons who had been fighting to that point rejoined their commander who was tending to her fallen sister. Lying in a pool of neon blue blood and the helmet was cracked. An obvious assumption of death was a headshot courtesy of the hole in the side of her head. Yelila took her weapon and anything else that she saw would be useful and gave a final word of grief before moving on. "Stay true and free, sister."

The Commander returned to the fight with a stoic resolve. The Plague had killed many of her sisters in the years before, and each death only strengthened her emotionally as well as mentally. While it also cost her a bit of her heart.

Wallace knew how she was feeling, having lost men before in the War on Terror and other conflicts before now.

She rejoined him after going onto the ramp. At that moment a trio of F18s fired missiles at the Kaiju and either the shockwave of the attack or the monster itself shook the bridge and caused the humans and Amazons to steady themselves.

They were then put under constant fire, but it was wild and fierce. The Amazons made sure all Marines were inside before they took defensive positions and awaited their orders.

Everything so far seemed to be textbook for the men and Amazons, but not the enemy, and that is what worried Wallace the most. There were usually a whole shit ton of enemies ready to roll over them at any given moment, but the Plague seem more cautious than ever.

An explosion from in front of the cluster of gathering Marines and Amazons and they scattered as much as they could in such a tight space. They never let off their trigger.

The leaders took position behind the remains of a National Guard tank. Yelila motioned for her soldiers to cover one side of the ramp and the Marines maintained cover until they got in position. Peeking around the side Wallace could see many of the enemy. They weren't hard to notice with their bulky exteriors and even bulkier armor.

"We need to push them back!"

Yelila agreed, "Is there any way to do that?"

Remembering the schematics, he had looked at before the mission had started there was one detail that Wallace had noticed. He just hoped it was still there. "There's an under bridge below. If we can find the entrance and use it, we can go a good distance and take those bastards out from behind!"

"My sister's and I will take the under bridge. Have your men hold the line!"

She took off and waved to her sisters to follow.

"Commander wait-"

Gun fire from the Plague caused him to stop from going after her.

She was going to go at the mission on her own? That's crazy!

A rash decision would most likely get her killed, but Wallace wouldn't have been able to tell her to stay or at least to let him go with her, she was long gone.

The five remaining Amazons quickly found the under-bridge entrance and Yelila insisted on going in first. She wouldn't stand for a leader who didn't lead troops into battle.

The under bridge was more like a rickety cage attached to the underside of the proper bridge above with very little to use as cover. The commander didn't like that and so enforced a double time move speed to get her sisters across. The structure was sturdy enough, but she knew one false move and they would fall to the river below, the fall alone would most likely kill them.

She stopped when they reached a staircase that went upward. The soldiers gathered and she spoke to them in a low tone, "The Plague are up there. Take them out and relieve the humans."

The first soldier removed her visor. Her skin tone was a deep shade of red and her elaborate face markings were colored white. "Ma'am, we lost Tulipa because of our attempt to help the humans."

The soldier from before had been a veteran fighter from years of active combat across the galaxy, along with the rest of the squad. Yelila had known her very well. Her loss was felt hard in the squad.

On their home planet they were known as the Red Roses, a group of talented soldiers who fought for peace on behalf of their people. Then their planet fell to the Plague, and now they fought to make sure no other planet became like theirs. Yelila had been a grunt of the team before her promotion, and this group of sisters was the closest thing she had left to family as her own clan had been wiped out by the Plague.

"I know, Dollah, but we must push that aside and get this battle closed. Then we can move on," said the commander and she began to move up the stairs. She didn't want to sound heartless, but the mission came first. She would grieve later.

She moved quickly, finding out that the Plague didn't bother trying to cover their flanks and took cover behind a nearby car. Sure enough, the Plague were all facing forward, their attention solely on the human Marines in front of them.

Quietly Yelila ordered Dollah to move with the rest of the squad and once they were in position she stood up and gave the order.

"Fire!"

The first shots from her squad went off almost unnoticed but once three of the dozen or so Plague soldiers fell dead the others panicked. They started firing in all directions which made them easy to pick off. One soldier had tried to go around and nearly got Yelila by surprise from her left.

"Commander!"

Another Rose by the name of Blossi, a small female compared to her sisters ran up to her commander with a deep red dagger size blade in her left hand and tackled the Plague soldier before his grubby hand could grab the unsuspecting Yelila. Though it was three times her size she madly stabbed at its chest repeatedly. Yelila finished it off with a straight shot to the center of its bald head. Acid yellow colored blood sprayed out and covered Blossi's chest armor and some of her visor. She pulled back the face shield, her light blue colored face and black markings gave her a frightful appearance.

"Blossi, you alright?"

The Amazon nodded and pulled her knife out of the soldier's not sunken chest cavity. She got her rifle firing again without a second thought. As Dollah motioned for the other Amazons to go forward another air attack from the human air units forced them to take cover as the Kaiju responded by sending its tentacles in all directions. This could have been a disaster for the Amazons had the Plague bene better coordinated but thankfully the Marines pressed forward in the chaos and wiped out the remaining soldiers. There weren't any casualties from their side.

Yet the fight wasn't over yet as another wave of fire came from the Amazons' back. This time they were better prepared and took cover before returning fire of their own.

Yelila regrouped with Wallace who had a few choice words for the commander. "You're insane you know that?"

"The battle rages too long and we will not win no matter what we do," she replied. The Plague were notorious for long dragged-out battles that they always won because attrition is their main advantage. She knew this far too well.

The two leaders went forward with their comrades and took down any Plague left before turning back to the newest problem in their path. Another defensive wall but this time it had two automated turrets guarding either side of the ramp. A few Plague maintained a defensive position behind an overturned Humvee but otherwise let the turrets do most of the work.

Needing to reassess the situation thoroughly Wallace gave the call, "Coon, take Reptar and Hippy and take the right flank! Hold until I say to move!"

"Got it Lt! On me Marines!" Coon moved quickly for a man of his size and his two comrades followed.

Not to be outdone Yelila called out to her soldiers, "Dollah, you take Blossi and Lottie and make sure they don't take our left!"

The soldiers didn't give a verbal confirmation, most likely because the Marine leader was with her commander but moved, nonetheless.

Then there was the final Amazon, a soldier named Orchi, whose pink armor looked like it had been worn through hell and still had more to offer.

Yelila knew just what to do with her. "Orchi, take the BB-G and take out those turrets. I want it done with precision so they can't use them again."

"Yes, ma'am," she said quietly but with a tone that showed she understood what to do. Orchi moved backwards to the tank and climbed on the top of it. At first Wallace thought she was going to use the machine gun on it, but he quickly noticed the MG was destroyed. So, what was she doing?

At some point the Amazon assembled a large purple gun that looked similar to a sniper rifle in size, but the barrel was shorter. It had something akin to a scope on top of it and Orchi was ready to use it in less time than it took for Wallace to brush his teeth.

The turrets were firing green plasma bolts that ate away anything metallic that they hit. That made the cover the soldiers were using obsolete after a few shots or so and forced them to move.

Coon was finding that out the hard way as the metal car he was taking cover behind looked like a block of Swiss cheese after only a few The firing missing him by "This is fuckin' insane, Lt!"

By that time Orchi had readied her gun and had fired The gun made a sound like a Rottweiler growl when it The energy it shot out of the barrel was purple and it shot like lightning right into the mounted turret and blasted it to The second one turned its fire towards Orchi but that didn't stop the second shot from her gun and it shared the same fate as the first All fire from the Plague line scattered and tried to hit anything that The Marines moved up when the Amazons did as well.

That didn't last long.

"Lt! Something's coming!"

When Wallace felt it he thought it had either been the Kaiju or even the fighter jets unleashing their payload on the giant machine, but when it became a stomping pattern he immediately knew Pushing aside cars like they were toys came a massive Plague soldier that stood even taller than the grunts and carrying a large cannon began to fire at the

Orchi had been in the process of reloading her cannon when she saw the monster Her hands started to "Fury incoming!" The Fury roared loudly like Rambo when it unleashed his To Wallace it reminded him of a tank Heavy rounds destroyed anything they came into contact The soldiers scattered and began to fall back from the heavy In such a tight space Wallace knew they were sitting ducks.

'This is not We have to get out now! He turned to Yelila who was firing in a tactical "We need to retreat! We're like fish in a barrel in here, commander!"

Ducking to avoid a volley of fire from the Plague Yelila didn't hesitate or "Sisters, retreat to the street outside!"

Blossi and Orchi scrambled first, with the former literally pulling the latter away from her position and forcing her to leave her weapon The BB-G would have been too heavy in its deployed state to move under fire.

The humans were not lost on what to do Coon gave the call out to the others on the front line, "Marines, we are leaving!"

Wallace could forgive forgoing the chain of command for once, and he fell back with the rest of the men back through the hole and out to the street they had fought past.

On his comm Wallace called to his rear flank, "Knave! We got a big ass Plague known as a Fury coming through, get ready for it!"

"Big problem, Lt?"

"Give him a closed casket funeral."

Knave sounded satisfied, "Roger that, sir."

The soldiers all went into corner buildings and took The Fury led the way through the hole followed by at least a dozen or so Plague Wallace took to a pizzeria with his Reptar had gotten clipped in the retreat, his left his left arm a bloody mess but he fought through the pain to continue using his weapon.

The Fury was still going all in despite most fire being targeted on It took five shots to the head from Knave's rifle before it finally went The last shot exploded its head like a melon.

Wallace made a radio call back to command, "Command we breached the bridge but were forced to retreat under heavy We need heavy ordinance!"

Nothing but bad news followed from "That's a negative, Airborne assault units have breached the perimeter behind the front All artillery and air units have been diverted to plug the breaches."

Air units? When did the Plague have air units?

The Marine turned in Yelila's direction which she took cover inside a He turned his comm to speak to her, "Commander, did you know about an air assault from the Plague?"

From where he saw, through the firing of both sides as well as dust and shouting from everyone, Wallace could see that Yelila looked "Their retreat should have prevented an assault."

"Lt! You should see this!"

Coon's call to his superior was followed by the big man pointing up to the When he got there Wallace couldn't believe what he Hundreds if not thousands of alien craft filled the sky around the Kaiju, and even seemed to be coming out of the weapon in the river. The fighter jets that were to provide cover for the Marines and Amazons were being shot out of the sky with little to no effort. The enemy fighters were too agile for the human weapons to handle.

"Command, we have visual confirmation that the enemy fighters are coming from within the Kaiju!"

As he said that more and more Plague grunts came out of the opening on the monster.

The situation had just gotten a whole lot worse.